Denver Hyundai and Kia owners are struggling with insurance problems as thefts rise

DENVER – Owners of the most stolen vehicles in Denver are facing more trouble after one major insurance company says the risk is too high to insure them.

Progressive Insurance says it has suspended new policies in the Denver area on certain models from Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia due to the alarming number of these vehicles being stolen in the Denver area.

Customers who want to receive a quote on the company’s website will receive a message saying: “Based on the information provided on the vehicle, we are unable to provide you with an order at this time.”

An insurance agent in Denver told Denver7 that Progressive Insurance has placed restrictions on certain Hyundai/Kia models due to their high theft rates in the city, which are among the most stolen vehicles.

A spokesperson for Progressive Insurance told Denver7 that the risk of insuring this car is very high at this time.

“We are committed to providing affordable insurance solutions to consumers based on the level of risk and ensuring that our policies are cost-effective. Due to the theft risk that some Hyundai and Kia vehicles have, it often makes these vehicles difficult to insure, so we have changed our procedures for accepting new business for four types. We will continue to monitor the situation, and we are hopeful that we will be able to review our decision if the risk of theft decreases and public awareness has improved,” said a company statement.

Progressive did not provide details on the new restrictions, including which years or models are affected.

Owners of Denver Hyundai and Kia are also seeing increased payments from insurance companies.

Carole Walker with the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association said it’s unfortunate for the owners of these vehicles, but insurance companies need to take risks to keep premium rates low for their customers.

“They’re also looking at the market we’re in,” Walker said. “Colorado is now at the top of the list of car thefts. So, your car insurance company is looking at that accident, knowing the cost, how much it will cost to repair and restore the car, and whether it will be stolen, and then destroyed or damaged when it is stolen.”

And the way these cars are hacked – using a USB stick – and how easy it is to do, is getting a lot of attention on social media sites like TikTok.

Videos posted to the app under “Kia Challenge” or “Kia Boyz” show stolen cars with hoods removed and USB cables plugged into the ignition.

A spokesman for the Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force told Denver7 thieves have been using USB cables to steal cars for years, but viral videos have led to an increase in crime.

Only in Denver, from 2018 to Aug. 7 this year, car thefts are up nearly 160%, according to the Denver crime map, and Hyundai and Kia models are in the top 10 of the most stolen cars in the state. the first quarter of this year.

Insurance companies look at this and decide how much of the risk to insure the owner or if it is worth the risk at all.

“Unfortunately, when you have a model that’s known to be a thief, that’s what insurance companies choose to pay out, which can be high,” Walker said. “Then if they can insure the car at all.” They may just think the car is too dangerous to give it to other customers. “

In a statement to Denver7, both Kia and Hyundai said their 2022 models are equipped with immobilizer technology to prevent theft.

TikTok told Denver7 how viruses are violating its policies, and any videos related to crime will be removed from the platform.

Owners of these vehicles are forced into these situations but luckily, there are options for those who are looking at higher costs or objections.

“We always encourage Coloradoans to shop,” Walker said. “We’re fortunate to continue to have a competitive insurance market in Colorado. So, one company can’t afford another risk, another company can.”